Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey has died from what was reported as ‘complications of rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and pneumonia.’
Huh? There is no mortality code called ‘complications’ in the recently updated International Classification of Disease, which lists all causes of death.
Pneumonia may have been present but it didn’t kill Mr. Frey. If it had, it would be listed first.
Nor were rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis the killers. Rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis are autoimmune conditions caused by an immune system gone awry. Instead of performing its assigned job and protecting us from bacteria, viruses and other hazards, the immune system goes rogue and attacks. Unhappy conditions as they are, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis are not diseases, they are disorders, like Downs Syndrome or autism, and kill no one.
So why did Glenn Frey die?
With amazing frequency, obituaries identify unexplained ‘complications’ as the cause of death. Loosely translated, that generally means that the people who know don’t want you to.
There are good reasons for that. So unsafe is the entire medical industry that the word ‘complications’ is often a synonym for injury or death caused by incompetence, malpractice or pharmaceuticals. Although the number of deaths due to medical error has been estimated at 440,000, which would make it the third leading cause of death in the U.S, several in-depth reviews of medical records have shown that number to be woefully under reported. That’s because
– Some medical errors don’t come to light until an autopsy
– Medical records routinely fail to show all adverse drug events
– Physicians often refuse to report medical harm done to their patients
Medical errors are based only on hospital records, which means that injury or death occurring once the patient has left the hospital is not included in the figures. Also, all harm that does not cause death, estimated at 10 to 20 times the number of deaths, is ignored in the official figures. Hundreds of thousands of former patients live daily with the life-dimming consequences of our medical system and their misplaced faith in the American medical establishment.
The truth is that medical injuries are probably the leading cause of death in the U.S. That would help to explain why the average healthy life span of Americans is stagnating while other Western countries continue to show advances.
Studies done by the Department of Health and Human Services indicate that American citizens pay $88 billion every year in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to patch up the results of medical malfeasance. Other studies have estimated the total cost of medical error at 10% of total health care spending, or roughly $300 billion.
Hospital infections are among the most easily prevented injuries to patients, since they require little more than hand washing and sterile equipment. They are also the most common and alone raise the cost of hospitalization by as much as 50%.
Although many hospitals would prefer you to believe that medical harm is just the cost of doing business, it is not. There are hospitals that have made major strides in ensuring the safety of their patients.
So maybe it’s time for someone to go off the rails of political correctness and say it: The prevalence of infections and other in- hospital errors is a silent testament to the indifference and apathy of too many hospitals and medical staff. The rise in deadly strains of bacteria, like MRSA and C Diff, is a silent testament to the consequences of their apathy.
It appears that most hospitals are so unsafe that they should be closed for the protection of the public, as restaurants may be.
So what killed Glenn Frey? He had rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis, two autoimmune conditions treated with a class of drug called TNF (tumor necrosis factor) inhibitors which include Embrel, Humira, and numerous others. Those drugs are heavily advertised for an increasing number of conditions related to immune system dysfunction.
If a disorder is caused by the action of the immune system, we feel much better if we disable it. And that’s what these drugs do. But there is a huge price to pay for weakening the immune system. Without an immune system a person has no resistance to cancer or opportunistic infections like pneumonia.
The ‘complication’ causing Glenn Frey’s death was the prescription drugs that had been prescribed for his autoimmune conditions. There are natural, magical, alternatives that he never heard about from his doctors. It didn’t have to happen.
TV personality Deborah Norville said that her mother died prematurely “from Rheumatoid Arthritis.”
With all due respect to Ms Norville, no one dies from RA. Like osteoarthritis and many other non-fatal conditions among the genetically susceptible (e.g., Down’s Syndrome, mental illnesses), RA is more a disorder and less a disease.
All of us who live with the condition will die ‘with RA’ just as we will die ‘with a liver’, ‘with a brain’, ‘with fingernails.’ RA is not in the same mortality category as diabetes or stroke, leading causes of death listed on death certificates.
Nevertheless, Rheumatoid Arthritis can be a contributing factor to death from other causes, generally inflammation-related, but one is hard pressed to find any records listing RA as a cause of death by itself. In this list of annual causes of mortality, RA is conspicuously absent.
Any number of studies have concluded that those of us with Rheumatoid Arthritis are doomed to die several years before we would otherwise, usually, they say, from cardiovascular disease (CVD). In vanishingly rare instances inflammation resulting from the disease attacks a vital organ like the heart and the patient may die. Even then the cause of death is inflammation officially coded, for example, as ‘pericarditis,’ not Rheumatoid Arthritis.
It’s clear that a major problem is inflammation. But it’s not the only problem. The other big cause of death for us is the drugs we take, both over the counter and prescription.